- “I don’t know how much screen time is right for my child”
- “I want to implement screen time rules, but I don’t know where to start”
- “How do I make a routine stick?”
Any of these sound familiar? Many parents admit they don’t know where to begin when it comes to managing their kids’ screen time. And who can blame them?
Even experts regularly disagree. Just this week there are two conflicting news headline, one suggesting kids should be allowed to spend more time on screens, another reporting on a recent US study which found teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier. (In general, the debate often stems around how to balance screen time that is passive vs active, values-positive vs values-negative or creation vs consumption).
What’s more, advice from grandparents – who never had to deal with kids on screens 24/7 – is not always relevant when it comes to technology designed to addict us. So, we’ve we’ve come up with a solution. Seven, actually.
These proven screen time routines have been introduced successfully by many parents who wanted to help their kids manage screen time expectations easily at home.
As you know, each child is different, which is why each routine is designed for a specific problem area that your child might be dealing with. Take a look at the 7 screen time routines below to see which one would best suit your child and put it into practice today!
Daily Screen Time Allowance
If your child needs routine and structure but struggles to put down their device, setting a daily screen time allowance is a clear cut way to reduce daily conflicts around screen time.
But how can parents consistently apply and monitor the child’s daily screen time allowance across all devices — so one hour really means one hour? That’s where apps with smart screen time management can help, especially if they work across multiple devices.
In fact, a daily screen time allowance is often used alongside other screen time routines!
RELATED: Want to get your kids focusing on activities outside of their screens?
For kids who struggle academically or treat screens as a crutch, a weekend-only routine is a good starting place. This shows your kids that during the week, school work is the priority — and screens aren’t just for entertainment.
By giving your kids time away from screens, you’ll soon find them filling the time with other activities they enjoy doing. You’re also likely to see behavioural improvements including better concentration, social graces, and overall well-being.
If you’re worried that all your kids do all day is stare at screens, it sounds like you’re looking for a balanced play routine. One that incorporates physical, creative, social and unstructured play activities into their day.
It’s achievable, and you don’t have to constantly nag your kids either! Simply create a Play Plan that has one task in each category (physical, creative…etc.) They must do their tasks before they use their screens. A smart and effective routine for when your kids enjoy other activities but sometimes slip into the habit of turning to screens first!
Have you caught your child quickly switching from social media back to their homework when you glance at their screen? Yeah, we thought so. In which case, you need a homework first screen time routine.
There are apps out there that can block access to distracting apps, websites, games and social media until homework has been completed. It’s straightforward, reduces screen time arguments and teaches delayed gratification, which is critical to success both in and out of school.
Do you find yourself constantly asking your kids to do their chores? Do you have to remind them more than 3 times? If they just “forget” because they got caught up in their screens, a Tasks First screen time routine is right for you.
This screen time routine allows access to screens only after completing certain tasks, chores, and goals. It also teaches your kids that screens are optional but daily responsibilities are not — something they often get the wrong way around!
If you don’t want to limit your kid’s screen time, but you want them to be aware of how much time they are on their devices, a monitor only routine could be just what you need. Rather than limiting screen time, you monitor how long your kids spend on screens each day and set aside time to discuss your findings together at the end of the week.
This is particularly effective routine for when it comes to teaching kids how to be self-reliant.
Educational Media Only
If you want to make sure that your kids only have access to educational content, an educational media only screen time routine is ideal for you. This will block any websites and apps that you deem aren’t appropriate and means you don’t have to keep an eagle-eye on what your kids are accessing online!
This is a useful alternative if your child has trouble disengaging from digital entertainment but gains confidence from educational games.
RELATED: Want to motivate your kids to treat screen time as a privilege?
Still not sure which of our 7 screen time routines is right for your child? Get in touch in the comments below and one of our experts will help you out!